In the course of the research for my next book (he says, trying desperately to sound like a proper, grown-up writer), I've been trying to locate the first use of the word 'indie' in reference to a genre of music, rather than the status of the company that releases the music. There have been numerous dead ends, but I've always been fascinated by the haphazard, murky way in which neologisms stagger backwards into the limelight. It's not necessarily the first use that's important; it's the moment at which usage of the word or phrase hits some sort of critical mass. And, in many cases, the event should really be accompanied by a substantial side-order of WHY???
For example, why has the sensible, descriptive 'weblog' been superseded by the ugly 'blog'? Was that extra syllable really such a chore? As Alison Bradley puts it: "Blog is truly an unfortunate word. Far from appetizing, a blog inspires John Carpenter derived images of a blob in the fog, meandering through the web."
See, it could have been worse. We could all have been writing flobs.
Which is silly, of course, but not nearly as daft as this piece by Catherine Bennett in last Thursday's Graun, which suggests that the blogverse is characterised by "a redneck approach to sex and women", including "devil-may-care asides about porn, notes on the ugliness of women commentators, the beauty of young waitresses, or remarks... on the 'totty situation'".
To which the all-too-obvious response is to suggest that Ms Bennett stop worrying her pretty little head about such matters, and make us a cup of tea. On the other hand, if you would like to contribute your euro's worth of vitriol and hearsay to the continuing debate about flobbing, sorry, blogging, you could do worse than to allow Patroclus to delve around in the recesses of your grey matter for a few minutes.